Jeanette M. Pietrantoni, a longtime president of the Syracuse Teachers Association, died Jan. 21 at the age of 77. Jeanette was a graduate of SUNY Albany. She taught English in the Syracuse City School District and spent two years volunteering for the Peace Corps in Kenya.
When Jeanette returned from Kenya in 1968, a lot had changed. The Taylor Law granting teachers the right to organize and bargain collectively had passed and teachers were forming their own unions separate from administrators. Jeanette returned to the classroom and the Syracuse TA, writing a weekly newsletter.
She served as president of the Syracuse TA for 21 years. She also served on the NYSUT Board of Directors; as a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers; treasurer of NYSUT Retiree Council 7 and a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
In 2007, Jeanette was the recipient of "Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, the highest NYSUT recognition for union women.
See Jeanette's Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award video:
"She was a real pioneer and fearless leader at a time when there were few women at the state and national levels," said former NYSUT Board member and fellow "Not for Ourselves Alone" award winner Carol Slotkin. "She was a mentor, a role model, and a powerful unionist. After retirement, she continued to live a meaningful life as a skilled advocate for retirees."
Jeanette is survived by her brother, Joseph (Marilyn); two nephews, Joseph (Robin) and John (Nancy); niece, Mary Ann (James); great-nephews, Joseph, John Thomas, Sam, Will, Robby and Andy; great-nieces, Jennie, Carrie, and Wynne Abigail.